Jadon Sancho’s future is up in the air ahead of the summer. It seems as though he will definitely be leaving Borussia Dortmund, but his destination once the season ends is unclear.
Manchester United were reported to be leading the race on Wednesday night. The likes of Liverpool, Chelsea, Barcelona and Juventus are all thought to be chasing the £120million-rated forward.
But which team needs him the most and where would he be most likely to thrive? Sportsmail has taken a look at his options and assessed them below.
Manchester United are reportedly winning the race for Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho
But a number of other top European sides are still involved in the race to sign the forward
Before coronavirus decimated the sporting calendar and brought the Premier League to a halt, Manchester United were on a roll. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side had gone 11 games unbeaten and his plan seemed to be working.
Their youthful revolution saw the likes of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Brandon Williams, Daniel James and Anthony Martial line up for the win against Manchester City, with Marcus Rashford on the sidelines due to injury.
While Martial has seemingly taken the No 9 slot for himself and Rashford has impressed on the left, the forward line has been missing a consistent option on the right.
Sancho would fit in perfectly on the right side of the forward line in United’s current system
James has had up and down moments this season – to be expected from a player as raw as the Wales winger – while the likes of Juan Mata and another young prospect in Mason Greenwood have also plugged the gap.
Sancho is a specialist on the right wing and seems to have a slot available for him in the first-team. He would also bring something United are missing.
Rio Ferdinand was enthused about the idea of the England international joining recently. He said: ‘I would take Sancho all day, to Man Utd. Whether we’ll get him, though…
‘(He’s a) great player, great potential, English, he’s brilliant. I would take Sancho now.’
Sancho would also suit the dressing room. At just 20 years old, he fits the profile of the type of player United want to buy and would slot in alongside a number of his likely England team-mates.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has tried to sign younger player since taking over as United manager
The only big risk for him is the number of players who have struggled to adapt to United after big money moves for him in recent seasons – see Paul Pogba as an example.
But that seems to have changed recently. Bruno Fernandes has settled immediately while even those who initially flopped, like Fred, are starting to shine.
The other concern would be Champions League football, although United look like a team with momentum when the action returns.
Sancho might be best served by making what seems like the obvious switch.
Sancho success rating: 8/10
Another club that have been implementing their own youth revolution is Chelsea, with Frank Lampard bumping up a number of players from their academy since he took charge.
It has worked for them. They are fourth in the Premier League and on course for Champions League football next season.
Lampard has made it clear that his team need additions in the summer, though, after their transfer ban and they are likely to be in the forward areas, given the paucity of options available to him up front.
Chelsea are also thought to be keen on bringing Sancho to Stamford Bridge in the summer
The problem is that in Sancho’s position, Chelsea already have an emerging talent. Callum Hudson-Odoi is still building himself back up from a long-term injury but should take the slot on the right.
They also have Christian Pulisic available to them. An issue is that they will lose Pedro in the summer, while Willian seems likely to leave, but Lampard might want to focus on spending elsewhere.
Their defence has been their downfall this season and needs some serious surgery, while he will surely want to sign another striker behind Tammy Abraham. Olivier Giroud has played recently but is clearly not his favoured option, while Michy Batshuayi has struggled.
Chelsea have also already agreed a deal for Hakim Ziyech, who will join in the summer. Ziyech is not a winger but does already give Lampard another attacking midfield option.
Frank Lampard has also put the focus on younger players since taking over as Chelsea boss
The truth is that Sancho is better than the players Chelsea have. The question is whether that is a priority position.
He would improve the side but would he do so as much as a solid central defender or a proper striker?
And would Sancho be given the nod over the homegrown Hudson-Odoi once he is back to full fitness? These questions leave doubts over Chelsea as an option.
Sancho success rating: 6.5/10
Jurgen Klopp’s famous forward line is not an obvious issue. Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino have locked down those three positions and work sensationally as a unit.
They have collectively fired Liverpool to a seemingly insurmountable lead in the Premier League and barring coronavirus cancelling it all, a first title in a generation.
Yet there are enough doubts about those players to give Sancho an opportunity if Liverpool want to make a move.
Sancho would have to break into Liverpool’s forward line if he moved to Anfield in the summer
For a starter, Xherdan Shaqiri will almost certainly move this summer, while Divock Origi – barring a few dramatic examples – has not shown himself to be up to the level.
Takumi Minamino still needs to demonstrate the quality that made the Reds nab him in January.
Then there is also the issue of Mane and Salah and whether they might want to move on.
Liverpool are obviously giants but the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona have consistently sniffed around them.
If they were to decide to move on in the summer, Sancho would be an obvious choice. He would likely cost less than either the Egyptian or the Senegalese forward too.
Jurgen Klopp might want to bolster his options if he manages to take Liverpool to the title
Even if they didn’t, Klopp might want to bring in a new face to lift the team if they win the Premier League. Competition is the best driver for success.
This, though, assumes a lot of circumstances change and for Sancho, could represent something of a punt. Is it really worth swapping guaranteed first-team football for the risk of being stuck on the bench?
Even if he backs himself as a player, breaking up that front three would represent a huge task for anyone.
Sancho success rating: 6.5/10
Whisper it, because no one really wants to acknowledge it, but Lionel Messi is probably coming towards the end of his top level career.
At 32, he still probably has time on his side but there are a lot of miles in those tiny legs and his performance against Real Madrid in the recent Clasico was less than brilliant.
He is still the greatest of all time, but Barcelona might want to start planning for a future without him.
They are also not sure whether Antoine Griezmann is the man in the long-term after an iffy first season, while they would happily sell Ousmane Dembele. Ansu Fati is not yet up to the level.
Sancho could have positions open to him in the forward line at Barcelona if he moves there
So there is a job there for Sancho, and it is one that surely appeals.
Even now, when the Premier League is undoubtedly the best league in the world on a competitive and commercial front, playing for Barcelona holds an unbelievable appeal. They are among the biggest clubs in the world, play at a sensational stadium and always compete for trophies.
While Quique Setien has not been sensational since taking over as manager, his commitment to playing football the right way means Sancho would benefit from some solid coaching.
There could be a berth on the right or the left waiting for Sancho. This is a slightly maverick option compared to returning to his home country, but Sancho showed strange decisions sometimes work out best when he joined Dortmund.
It is not the obvious choice, yet it might be one of the better ones for the Camberwell-born star.
Sancho success rating: 7/10
This would be one of the more surprising moves Sancho can make. Juventus have plenty of talent on the right, in Douglas Costa and Paulo Dybala.
Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo has the left-sided berth locked down. It’s slightly similar to Chelsea in that Sancho would represent an improvement on Juventus’ options on the right, his natural position.
And when it comes to Dybala, Juventus have already shown a willingness to move him on – as they nearly did last summer. The question, really, is whether the right side is the position they want to improve in the upcoming window.
Juventus may move Paulo Dybala on and that could open a spot for Sancho in the squad
While Maurizio Sarri clearly likes Gonzalo Higuain, having played a big part in him becoming a top-level player, the Argentine is 32 years old and not the fittest of players. Striker seems like the better position to splash the cash.
Sancho would undoubtedly do well at Juventus, even if there’s not an obvious starting position, and it represents another adventure for a player who clearly quite likes taking them.
Yet this move, of the lot, makes the least sense of all. They do not have a dynamic forward line to get the best out of him nor does he fit into their current style. Mark this one up as a nice idea but one that might not be the most practical in reality.
Sancho success rating: 4/10